Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Thursday urged the Centre to run special long-distance train services from Mumbai and Pune to ferry migrant workers stuck in Maharashtra to their native states in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan after the lockdown ends on May 3.
To contain the spread of novel coronavirus, the nationwide lockdown was extended from April 14 to May 3. Till Wednesday, the virus has afflicted 5,649 people across the state.
In a letter to Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Pawar said, “In the wake of restlessness among the migrant workers, who are rendered jobless for last one-and-half months following the lockdown, railway ministry should organise special trains to facilitate their return to their respective native home states.”
According to an official statement, Pawar stated in the letter that the migrant workers, stranded in different parts of Maharashtra, may step out in big numbers to return to their states when the train services resume after the lockdown is lifted, which may lead to law and order problem. Pawar also referred to the April 14 incident, when nearly 2,000 migrant workers gathered outside Bandra Railway Station in Mumbai, and said it marked how desperate the labourers were to return to their home states.
More than 6.5 lakh migrant workers — a majority of them from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan — are stranded at various relief camps across Mumbai, data shared by state information centre states. Pawar said the state government has arranged accommodation and food for the migrant workers, but in face of loss of jobs and livelihood most of them had urged the government to allow them to go to their home states.
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